Posted: Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:03 pm Post subject: Tower of the Marquis
I'm soon to run an adventure set in Krelont Keep in Istivin where the PCs will interact with the nobles and bigwigs of Istivin.
Looking over the map of Krelont Keep in Dungeon 117, p.53, I see that the seat of rule within the castle is a 90' wide round tower labelled Tower of the Marquis.
Since everything else on the castle map is either explicitly military (garrison, city watch headquarters, barbican), or a stables, chapel, or the Chief Wizard Verbane's personal tower, this means that the Marchioness' personal quarters, her throne room & audience chambers, some kind of feast hall, and the chambers of state (where dozens and dozens of nobles meet to pass laws as the Council of Barons) all need to be in that 90' wide round tower.
Can anyone help me with creating this? How high could a 90' wide tower realistically be (this one is supported by the walls of the Inner Ward)? How many floors would that be? What would the floorplan even be?
Is there a site from another game supplement or adventure or real-life that I can steal to avoid having to design this whole thing myself?
I think I'm a little stymied here because I expected the monarch of a country the size of Sterich would have an actual palace to rule from, not just a single tower. I can't quite imagine how this works.
All of the tower maps/adventures I have are former residences of long-dead wizards who left their treasure, traps, and nefarious guardians behind--not busy seats of government.
Joined: Feb 16, 2003 Posts: 3679 Location: So. Cal
Posted: Fri Mar 01, 2019 2:04 am Post subject:
The Tower of London (the White Tower bit of the fortress that is) serves as one example of what can be done with a tower. It is a bit larger than the Tower of the Marquis, it being a rectangle with dimensions of 32 meters x 36 meters, and with a height of 27 meters. Having visited the tower, it is impressive to say the least. The interior structure is a system of stout wooden beams supporting wooden floors. It is a massive building. I am not sure why you would think that a nation as puny as Sterich would have a palace as the home of its head of state; particularly as it is a border state along the Crystalmists where various nasty things periodically sally forth from, and even more so due to it being a Keoish frontier region. Kingdoms tend to build fortresses in newly acquired lands to cement their hold on them. I am not familiar with any history of the Tower of the Marquis, but it could very well have been built on the order of a Keoish king. And so it very much makes sense that the ruler's home is a fortress and not a palace. This structure would dominate the landscape not only due to its form, but no doubt due to it being located at the most defensible position within the local geography. And so the actual height of the tower doesn't include the height of any mount it may be built upon. Look at pics of Windsor Castle. The Round Tower there, which is not looked upon as the main portion of the castle at all, is "only" 30 ft. in diameter at its top, and you can see how it dominates the architecture. Now, triple that diameter, which means it will cover *NINE TIMES THE OVERALL AREA*, and you have the Tower of the Marquis. It is GINORMOUS, but hey, it's a fantasy world.
If it is not a free standing tower, and is effectively buttressed by extensions from the wall surrounding the inner ward, the height could easily be greater than that of the Tower of London, and higher still if the tower diameter narrows slightly as it progresses in height. Furthermore, add in the fact that round towers are stronger than square towers (round towers distribute weight better), and the tower could be as much as 150 ft. in height. But that would be a bit insane, as Sterich is not a massive power of Oerik on the order the Great Kingdom, Keoland, Nyrond, etc., so this tower needn't be (and shouldn't be) insanely prodigious in size. 90 ft. diameter with a height of 65 feet would be more than reasonable - a massive, squat, round tower. That could include a ground floor with a grandiose 20 ft. high ceiling (and various galleries) and three or four upper floors with ceilings of 10-15 ft. height. Then there is the roof and no doubt a dungeon complex below it all. All of this is more than sufficient. Assuming a base level wall thickness of 10 ft. (15 ft. is probably more realistic), that leaves more than *5,000 square feet* of space for chambers on the the first floor alone. Add in three or four more floors and you have *20,000-25,000 thousand square feet* of chambers, rooms and hallways within the structure (not including any dungeon areas). If you don't think this is in any way palatial, I don't think you have real understanding of just how big a 90 ft. diameter tower is.
As to reference material, here is one map I found using Google:
If the scale is 1 sq. = 5 ft., that tower is a bit broader than 90 ft. in diameter, but it does show what can be done with a round tower. One note: the interior walls of that tower are not realistic (somebody has been drawing too many dungeon maps ). The interior of a tower will be evenly supported by wooden beams or stone pillars at the base, and wooden beams/pillars on the upper levels. Consequently, there would be no reason for massively thick walls anywhere, when wood/stone pillars for support would suffice. What those unnecessarily thick walls could really be hiding are secret corridors a full 3 ft. wide throughout for servants (or spies) to move about!
The pic in the link above should be altered, such that the central are of the ground floor would be a grand hall/audience area; with stairs to the second level being somewhere outside that chamber. As a side note, such a tower should never have windows or arrow slits at outside ground level. Narrow windows high up on the walls of the first floor level (at least 10 feet up, and too narrow for full grown person to fit through) would be the norm. At the second floor and higher, there you'll see arrow slits/narrow windows.
Hope that helps get you started! _________________ - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
Last edited by Cebrion on Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:22 am; edited 4 times in total
Wow, thanks, Cebrion, what a great response. I love these forums.
Your google-fu far exceeds mine and I'm going to steal that tower and modify it as you recommend.
Sterich, according to the LGG, has seven counties, with three to fifteen baronies each, so when the Council of Barons meets to pass laws there would be at a minimum seventy important people gathered together (plus servants etc.). If I pulled out the stairs at the center of the ground floor like you recommend, do you think the grand hall/audience area would suffice for a council of that size?
If not, I'm at a bit of a loss where else it would take place. It seems odd for the Council of Barons not to take place at the seat of government for Sterich.
As a side note, since you mentioned the history of the Tower of the Marquis, there's a lot of additional information/deleted scenes from the Istivin article and the Shadows Over Istivin adventure that Greg Vaughan posted in the Paizo forum shortly after it was published (2006). You can find it here:
The forum begins with questions from someone running the module and shortly after Richard Pett, Erik Mona, and Greg Vaughan chime in, with the latter including a lot of historical information that didn't make it into print.
I especially liked the bit about the promontory upon which Krelont Keep was built being the historical battleground between two powerful refugees of the Suloise empire and the Master of the Wild Hunt and his hounds--given that my entire campaign centers around Tarsellis Meunniduin as Master of the Hunt.
Joined: Feb 16, 2003 Posts: 3679 Location: So. Cal
Posted: Sun Mar 03, 2019 2:02 am Post subject:
The ground floor could be more of an audience chamber and offices for serving the everyday affairs of the earldom; a kitchen and dining area would also likely be located on this level. The second floor could be dominated mostly by a large council chamber with seating for 100. The next level could be quarters for servants/functionaries. The final two upper levels could be the earl and family's personal apartments; rooms for a few high level aides could be here too. A first subterranean level could include additional offices for some functionaries and storage areas for legal documents, foodstuffs, and other supplies. The garrison, and perhaps some servants/functionaries, could have rooms here, and the armory would likely be located here too. A final, deeper, subterranean level could be a literal dungeon, where only the most important criminals/prisoners would be held (run-of-the-mill miscreants would be held in the city jail), and the treasure vault could be here too. _________________ - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
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